The educational value of the Doll is just beginning to be realized by the mothers and teachers of small girls; so that at last we have the making of doll's clothes included in the curriculum of certain schools.
This ancient little Dutch Doll is an Emery Bag.
This is undoubtedly a step in the right direction. The little girl who has taken a part in making her doll's wardrobe, and then in keeping it up-to-date, will find that the knowledge she has gained in this way will be invaluable to her in after life. The child who has helped to put together her doll's combinations, will have no difficulty in making her own later on, neither will she be perplexed when she in turn has little people to sew for. In the same way, the small girl who has been shown how to bring Lady Arabella's "last season's party frock" up-to-date, by altering the sleeves, or the fulness of the skirt - as the latest mode may demand - will save many a dressmaker's bill presently, when her own frocks show signs of growing out-of-date.
An Inser-t i on wit h only simple stitches.
An Edge in Bohemian Lace, show-i n g buttonholed bars.
But this instruction as to the doll's wearing apparel is only the beginning of the educational possibilities of the doll. The next step is to encourage the little girl to see to the household linen and general furnishings of the doll's house. If a real doll's house is not forthcoming at the moment, an excellent substitute can be made out of a wooden box turned up on end, with a few shelves put in to supply the necessary succession of "floors." Once you have contrived something that you can call a doll's house - and the child's innate love of "make believe" will enable you to do this easily - doll's furniture can bet procured at very little cost, and the etceteras can be supplied by your own ingenuity.
First the bedclothes and bedding should be made. It will be best for the child if you make all this yourselves, rather than buy the small bolster and pillows at the toy shop.
Show her how to make the small feather bed, and how to stuff the pillows. She can make a little mattress from small cloth clippings; this will teach her the value of tiny waste bits of material. Have everything as complete as you can, from the under blanket to the ornamental bedspread; and show her how to make the bed in a proper way. A valance will be received with acclamation, and you can show her how to fasten it on with tapes.
A nightdress pocket is sure to delight any little maid; and in using it for Lady Arabella's elegant nightgown, she will learn, unconsciously, what she must do with her own.
A little Linen Bag can also be made to serve a useful purpose; and if Lady Arabella is always taught to put discarded garments in her Linen Bag, preparatory to sending them to the wash, the other little lady will be learning tidy methodical ways at the same time.
Doll's cupboards can be bought at most toy shops for a few pence; turn one of these into a linen press, and have it furnished under your supervision with tablecloths, serviettes,tray-cloths, towels and toilet covers, as well as with bed linen. Shew the little housewife how to ornament the guest towels, how to fold the serviettes and tablecloths correctly, how to put a bit of edging round the toilet covers and tray cloths, and how to let in a fancy corner into the 5 o'clock tea-cloth. If she is old enough to do some of the ornamentations for herself, so much the better; let her try to do a very simple cross-stitch border round a sideboard cloth for Lady Arabella's dining room; any coarse piece of canvas will serve, so long as the cotton is a pretty colour.
In this way you will not only be instilling in your child a love of housewifely things, and fostering the instinct for home-making that is born in most baby girls, but you will be teaching her the right way to do-things, and what is required in a properly conducted household; also, you will be training her to make the things she needs. And none of this need be any tax on the brain. It will all be absorbed with the utmost delight, as play.
But do not misunderstand me. I am not advocating that the mother should invariably supervise the child's play.
I think a child should be allowed the old-time freedom in this respect; the modern custom of helping or training or assisting a child to play only tends to dwarf its self reliance and stunt its ingenuity. But while the little girl has plenty of time to amuse herself with the doll's house as she pleases, it is easy for the mother to get in her instructions by the way. She can announce that she is going to pay a ceremonious visit to Lady Arabella, and the house must be put in applepie order for the occssion. Then the guest towels can be hanging over the towel horse: fresh covers on the drawing-room cushions, the best bedspread over the bed, and the serviettes in their bead-rings round the dining-room table.
Having the child make the house and bed linen teaches her how to sew with very little irksomeness. Each article is so small that it can be quickly finished, and is not like the large pieces of work that were given children to do a generation ago. Few children can get up any enthusiasm over hemming a duster! But it will be the exceptional girl who is not eager to hem the small sheet for the doll's bed and put a piece of lace at the edge; and if mother can find -or evolve - a monogram or initial for the pillow-case, needlework will take-on an added delight in the eyes of the small person. To learn to make-a buttonhole properly is dull work for a young girl, yet it is necessary, as we most of us need this knowledge as we grow older; but if she learns the stitch in the first instance by buttonholing the top of the doll's blanket a bright blue or red, she wilt be acquiring useful information as well as a good deal of pleasure in doing this piece of work.
Darned filet net is one of the most artistic forms of fancy-work. It is always in fashion and affords ample scope for one's own designing, which can be carried out to our own ideas of the manner in which it should be worked. Simple darning stitch is used, in which the thread is run in and out through the meshes in sufficient rows to fill a line of the meshes in any direction required. The outline of the motif is worked in this way with soft embroidery cotton, then additional value is assured to the work by "filling in" with any fancy stitches with which we are acquainted. This design, while suggested for a curtain border, will also serve for an insertion border for a tea-cloth, cushion-cover, or it could be adapted for a delightful cot-cover over apinkor blue satin lining.
For this purpose a centre motif, or a group of them, such as that in the corner could be put in the centre of the cover.
AN EFFECTIVE DESIGN IN DARNEDET.
The best finish for all kinds of work that require frequent washing is the hemstitched hem. This can be of various depths, and either plain hemstitching o r very elaborate work of the "drawn thread" kind, with fancy stitchery. Linen sheets and pillow-cases afford samples of articles which are improved by a deep hem ornamented with some openwork veining. Coloured embroidery cottons or white are used with good effect, and the number of stitches that can be employed is indefinite.
Fig. 5.- THE SERPENTINE STITCH.